Washington, Oct. 4 (CNA)－U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday condemned Beijing for threatening stability across the Taiwan Strait and accused China of resorting to economic aggression to extend its global reach.
In remarks delivered at the Hudson Institute on U.S. policy toward China, Pence alleged that Beijing has been using so called “debt diplomacy” to expand its influence across the world. Since last year alone, he noted, Beijing has convinced three Latin American nations to cut ties with Taipei and recognize China.
“These actions threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait, and the United States of America condemns these actions,” he said. “And while our administration will continue to respect our one China policy, as reflected in the three joint communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act, America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people.”
Taiwan has lost five diplomatic allies to China since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, including Panama in June 2017, the Dominican Republic in May this year, and most recently, El Salvador in August. This has led to a sharp drop to 17 the number of countries that recognize Taipei instead of Beijing.
Also in his remarks, Pence accused China of using a “whole-of-government approach” to advance its influence in the United States, including attempts to interfere in American business operations and elections.
Beijing is taking steps to exploit its economic leverage and the allure of its large marketplace, to advance its influence over American businesses, he alleged. For example, Beijing has compelled Delta Airlines to publicly apologize for not calling Taiwan a “province of China” on its website, and pressured Marriott to fire an American employee who merely liked a tweet about Tibet, he noted.
According to Pence, Beijing is pursuing a “comprehensive and coordinated campaign” to undermine support for U.S. President Donald Trump, in retaliation for Trump’s tough stand toward China on trade issues.
He alleged that China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 elections, and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential elections. “To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working; and China wants a different American president,” he said.
He pointed out that the tariffs imposed by China to date specifically target industries and states that will play an important role in the 2018 midterm elections, with more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China having voted for Trump in 2016.
In response to Pence’s remarks, Taiwan’s Presidential Office expressed its appreciation to the U.S. government for its recognition of the country’s democracy and support for its international space. President Tsai has remained unchanged in her goodwill and commitment to cross-strait relations, but will not yield to China’s pressure, the office said.
As a responsible participant in the international community, Taiwan will continue to contribute to cross-strait and regional security and well-being, it added.